Tips for an Overly Excitable (Destructive) Kitten
30 March, 2015
When you bring a new kitten home from your local shelter, your kitten will have loads of extra energy. Your kitty will jump around, explore your new home and make herself known in all sorts of ways from scratching couches or ‘marking’ her territory or just exploring everywhere. However, sometimes the excitement is so great, that your kitty becomes destructive or overly excited at all times. It is important to try to curb this behavior during kittenhood, so your kitty can grow up to be a better behaved cat.
Spay or Neuter your kitten
First and foremost, make sure to have your kitten spayed or neutered to see if this helps with the devilish behavior. There are so many reasons to spay or neuter your kitty from overpopulation of unwanted cats to the fact that it helps with your kitten’s health. And it is common knowledge that spaying or neutering your kitten helps to calm her or him down.
And even with the neutering, your kitten is probably testing your limits, climbing on forbidden surfaces like the counter or using your body as a cat tree. While it’s cute at first, you need to direct your kitten’s energy away from the destructive antics.
You need to define the behavior you find unacceptable
Your first step is to define what behavior is unacceptable. When your kitten jumps on a couch or table, clap your hands loudly, say “no” and if he or she doesn’t get off the table, lift him or her gently off the table. When your kitty scratches the couch or your mattress, you should do the same. In fact, when he or she does anything you do not approve of, you need to tell him or her that this behavior is unacceptable.
But do NOT spank a wayward kitten. Cats don’t understand this kind of treatment and it will only cause resentment in your kitten and destroy the bond you’ve created.
How to stop your kitty from biting or clawing you
If your kitten’s naughty behavior includes biting, clawing, or climbing, try saying “ouch!” in a high-pitched voice and gently place her on the floor. After you do this, don’t pay attention to her for a few minutes even if she gets back in your lap.
When kittens play, they squeak if the play has gone too far and hurts them. By using a high-pitched voice to express your dismay, you’re telling your kitten, in her language, that she has gone too far. Your “ouch” shows her in a gentle and non-abusive way that what she did was painful and that she’s not going to get attention if she does things that hurt you.
Try to distract your kitten when she is being naughty
Watch your kitten for signs that he or she is starting to get overexcited. Usually these signs include a swishing tail and getting ready to pounce. She may start eying an object she wishes to climb. When you see these signs, take out a “thing on a string” toy and get her attention. A few minutes of play will redirect her energy away from climbing your curtains or exploring your counter. In fact, any kind of interactive toy will be good to minimize her hyperactivity.
Make sure to include a play session before you go to bed
If your kitten gets hyper when you’re sleeping or preparing for bed, give her an energetic play session about half an hour before you plan to go to bed. After the play session, give her a small helping of food. Playing will help her lose her excess energy and the food will help her sleep. If you decide to feed your kitten before bed, do not give her more food than she’s currently eating. Give her the same amount of food but divide it into smaller portions throughout the day.
Kittens need to be on a diet of a healthy, well balanced food
Make sure that your kitten is on a healthy, well-balanced food. Sometimes the over- the- counter variety can cause hyperactivity in cats. You can also talk to your vet about herbal remedies. Sometimes they will recommend an herb that you can put in your kitten’s bed to relax him or her.
While kittens can be a handful at times, with some training, effort and love, they will become manageable during these formative and sometimes trying years. Then you will have a well behaved happy cat and pet parent.